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Logically Nostalgic May 30, 2009

Posted by Zack in Everything Else.
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I ended my day by setting a trap for a raccoon.
If a week ago you’d have told me I would be doing this – and enjoying it – I wouldn’t have believed you, simply because it was completely out of the realm of possibilities at the time.  See, I’m in Chillicothe OH working at an outdoor theatre named Tecumseh! (The exclamation mark at the end of the sentence isn’t my doing, merely the title of the theatre itself).  I’m surrounded by trees, in a cabin, with no insulation.  Everyday I get up and rehearse for about 13 hours, culminating with a shower and reading a book before falling asleep to do the same thing over again.
This is not like me.  
I’m the kind of person who gets up in the morning for three or four cups of coffee while watching TV and surfing the internet for pop-culture news to discuss with my friends.  Sitting comfortably in my air-conditioned apartment I would then go out into a world that I know.  The world of fast food, movies, TV, laser tag, traffic and the occasional 2:00 AM Dennys run.
But all of these things are gone now.  My cell phone essentially gets no service, the Internet is almost nowhere to be found and instead of waking up to an alarm, I’m awaken by the chirps of birds and playful squirrels.  I’m out of my comfort zone but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.
See, everyday that I’ve been here has been slow.  I’ve stood out in the sun, wishing it would go away, but knowing full well it won’t until hours later.  I’ve been running up and down a mountain (literally) every other hour trying to make it to my next call.  My feet are sore, my body aches and mere fact that I’ve lasted this long in the wild  is bewildering to me.  I’ve dreaded everyday like it was my last on Earth.  I’ve woken up, wishing the experience were over.  Wishing I could simply go back home and be with the people I know and love.
But today that changed and I’m not entirely sure why.
While going through the motions of battling actors on stage, something occurred to me.  The reason I have been miserable isn’t because of my long days of working out.  It’s because I don’t want to let go of the life that I had before.  I hadn’t been thinking about the situation I’m in, only the things that I’m apparently missing.  Now, I haven’t let it go, nor do I want to, but I want it to be okay that I’m not there for the moment.
Which brings me to my point.  When is it okay to become nostalgic for something?
I suppose there are two possibilities to this question though.  The first is that you have to know that you will never get that person and/or experience back again. This possibility makes complete sense to me.
If you will never see someone again – example: death in the family – then there is no way you will ever talk to that person again.  Resulting in the memories being the only thing that you cherish about them.  This causes you to not want to let them go, not believe that they are gone; even though in your mind you know it’s true.
In the wild frontier people would routinely leave their land and family to go elsewhere.  Maybe it was because they wanted to start a family or maybe it was because they simply wanted their own land but chances are they would never see the people they left behind again.  They (I’m assuming) missed their past lives and the people in it.  This is a permanent change in one’s life.  This merits a feeling of nostalgia.
The second possibility is beyond logic to me.  About three months ago my cable went out.  I know, a terrible example but stick with me.  I wasn’t able to watch the shows that I had grown addicted to in over a month.  This made me wish that I had TV but at the same time, it was okay.  I knew that I would be getting it again.  The fact that some people grow nostalgic over something that isn’t over or will simply return in a short amount of time is beyond me.  It’s almost as if they are being inconvenienced by the mere fact that their day-to-day schedule is being interrupted, but nothing terrible is happening to them.
All right, I need an example.  My first girlfriend I ever had – let’s call her Kristen – sent me special little things in the mail almost every week.  These items began to grow over the years and to this day I still haven’t thrown them away.  This confuses me for three reasons.  1) I haven’t had feelings for her for over four years.  2) I haven’t talked to her in three years.  3) I have no emotional connection to these items.  But yet I can’t bring myself to throw them away.  They sit in that old wooden box in my room, collecting dust but I don’t open it.  I can’t bring myself to let these items go even though there is literally no reason why I should be having trouble.
I think maybe they are reminding me of some good times I had, which is probably true.  But getting rid of these items doesn’t take away the memories.  They are just superficial reminders of what I once had and will never have again.  I KNOW I will never have those experiences again and I’m fine with it.  But that is exactly what is confusing me.  It’s one thing to be nostalgic for something that I can’t ever get back but why am I being nostalgic for home, when I know I’ll have it back in less than three months?
Sooner than I can probably imagine I’ll be back at home, drinking coffee and watching TV.  The air conditioner will cool my apartment and I’ll make phone calls with the greatest of ease. These are all things I miss but not necessarily things that I want.  I enjoy myself out here now.  I like the trees, the mountains and the fact that I get a full night sleep.  I like acting for a living.  I like where my life is going.
Yet, with all this happiness, I can’t let Lexington go and I’m not entirely sure why.  I think I miss the endless possibilities that Lexington brings.  Now, typing this statement I’m sure my friends in Lexington will begin to comment and refute the theory of “possibilities” in Lexington.  But I stand by my statement.  Going out on the town always has a certain level of curiosity attached for me.  Will I meet someone new?  Will I get too drunk to drive and spend way too much on cab fare?  Will I have one of those conversations that will someday shape my personality for the better?  Or even for worse?  The endless possibilities of doing something as simple as going out on the town are exciting to me.  Something I’m not exactly feeling here.
I think it’s because the people I love are not experiencing it with me.  They aren’t talking about the ridiculous situations that I’m getting in.  God, I would kill to find out what my literary friends2 think of the kid who constantly is reading a new book everyday, though when I ask him how the previous was he never has a definite opinion.  I want to sit outside of a theater for an hour after a film and discuss pop-culture categories until I’m tired of standing.  After that maybe we could go out on the town and not do anything but blast ELO and sing until we don’t have a voice.  The next day we could get up and go eat a shitty breakfast at Waffle House.  Then follow that by five hours of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ before a trip to the local drive-in and complain about the dirtiness of the windshield we’re looking through.  And sometimes I just want to play Guitar Hero instead of Frontiersman.
These things involve electronics but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.  I don’t miss the things we DID; I miss the people that I did these things with.  This is the meat of my nostalgia.   It seems I miss the people that make my world turn.  Yeah, kind of clichéd but it’s true.  Without them I’m just sitting on a mountain instead of a stage.  So, is it okay to be nostalgic for my friends, knowing that my being here isn’t in any way, shape or form, goodbye?
I suppose so, though I still say it’s illogical.

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Comments»

1. Broody Magoo! - May 30, 2009

For extra pop culture credibility, here’s the pivotal line from Kings of Convenience “Homesick”

“Homesick, because I no longer know where home is.”

Let me make this point: Home is not where you lay your hat. Home is where you feel most comfortable with the people you love and appreciate. Maybe you are realizing that you could be happy in this place, as long as you have your friends. Soon you’ll find out that electronics and television don’t necessarily make up the root of the conversations; rather, even if you were lumberjacks (and that would be cool), you would find yourself gravitating towards situations that you find yourself living, though you’d likely ride a moose home instead of a cab. But the point is that your friends are your central host of existence. You wake up not to go to work, but to have those good times with your compatriots. So being nostalgic isn’t necessarily a bad thing; think about yourself as rerouting your priorities.

2. katie - June 2, 2009

Oh Zack,,,everybody misses you. You know that. I am sure that we all think about you everyday and wonder how you’re doing. You are a special person, and you have a special place in all of out hearts.You always will. Just enjoy the time you have there, doing what you love to do. You’ll be back here with all of us that love you before you know it….and it will make you’r return even better. Where would we be without our friends…..

“How deos true friendship end? It deosn’t”
See you soon….


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